A Moon Crater

I need to say a quick something about Exodus International shutting down, as they did so with apologies extended to gays and lesbians who had been harmed by their reparative therapy.

Here is how one news story put it:

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, said in a statement. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”

I want first to note the obvious thing about this, and then two others things that are perhaps not so obvious. The obvious thing is that this is a capitulation, a collapse, an apostasy, a travesty, and a moon crater. This is an instance of an organization that existed to call men and women to biblical repentance, and has wound up repenting of their belief in the need for any such repentance. So here is the first lesson — never repent of repenting. Bad idea.

A couple not so obvious things. This was an organization clearly dependent, in an unhealthy way, on one guy. It was a parachurch organization, and its governmental structure was plainly not built for the ages. Like so many evangelical parachurch operations, it appears to have been the kind of thing that revolved around its personali . . . its president in a way that ceded way too much authority to him. The mainline denominations are all going through this very same apostasy, but notice for them how agonizingly slowly it has gone. This is because there is still some measure of accountability there, and thus the possibility of effective opposition.

And last, note how the apology is phrased — we, the bad guys of Exodus International “were imprisoned” in what we were doing. We were the bad guys, but . . . but we were victims too! Alan Chambers has bet on the wrong horse, but you can understand why he did. The path of ambition today seems to require attaining victim status somehow, and Chambers has identified what he thinks is the way. “We were trapped . . . trapped . . . it was dark, hard to breath . . .”

In my mind’s eye, I can see when Lot was leaving Sodom, how there was a group of men at the city limits laughing at him. “You know,” they said, “you’re on the wrong side of history.” Lot’s wife nodded slightly, wishing she had married that Chambers fellow instead.

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106 comments on “A Moon Crater

  1. It’s funny really. I read part of the HuffPo article on this. One thing we absolutely for sure know is that homosexuality isn’t a choice, so calling people to repentance is “mean” and bigoted… but we can sure howl at evangelicals and call them down and demand their repentance of their *views* of homosexuality.

    But but… I was born in the Bible belt. I was born this way. I can’t help it! I’m gonna go get a lawyer and sue away your ability to provide a living for your family because I have a chip on my shoulder and my feelings got hurt.

    Pastor Wilson, seriously, thank you for not compromising on this. It’s discouraging to see this sort of thing happening.

  2. I read the article put out by the LGBT community which seemed pretty clear that Alan Chambers had ‘caved’ into their pressure. I am not entirely sure this is a bad thing as it may be a new chapter in building rapport and relational harmony with those who he had been clearly called to reach (assuming Mr. Chambers’ apology was inspired by God that is).

  3. Mr. Wilson,

    I suppose your first point isn’t as obvious to me as it seems to be to you. I don’t think it follows from the apology that they’re repenting of calling people to repentance. The broader scope of the information that is coming out is that, consistent with the physical sciences on such matters, there’s no such thing as a spiritual cum genetic cure for homosexuality (this is altogether different from acting homosexually)–the latter half of this conjunction was altogether denied by EI prior to this (i.e., they didn’t think it was a biological issue). So, this ‘obvious’ point seems to be jumping the gun. Either that, or it’s an assertion, which EI now thinks inaccurate (and isn’t, by any means unbiblical, even if false): that homosexuality isn’t a genetic condition. Given the science, it seems like the folks at EI are properly warranted in thinking their ‘cure’ process is a false process if they’re following the empirical evidence. Again, the empirical evidence, on final examination, may be false, but EI seems well within their epistemic rights (and biblical rights!) to follow the evidence where it leads. This isn’t a capitulation to sin. So far as I’ve seen, they’ve not indicated that they think homosexuality, and the control thereof, is genetically determined in the sense that the homosexual person doesn’t have top-down causal control over his/her homosexually driven thoughts and actions. This apology is equally consistent with the admission that their prior process, whereby they ignored at least the biological half of the problem, was damaging and with the belief that acting on such biological predispositions is sinful–at least, it seems that way to me.

  4. It’s funny really. I read part of the Bible on this. One thing we absolutely for sure know is that homosexuality is a sin, so calling people to repentance is absolutely the right thing to do.

  5. Pastor Wilson,

    “capitulation”

    Exactly!

    It seems to happen so often with many: “I am going to make a stand, yes indeed, I am going to stand firm and fight to the bitter…Oh, never mind…”

  6. Yes, you’re pretty much all alone now, Douglas. No one else is willing to apply the biblical law to homosexuals.

    It didn’t use to be that way though. Not too long ago that verse was loudly and unashamedly proclaimed at Credenda Agenda. Here, for example, is a quote from Magestralis. (Your Eye Shall Not Pity, Greg Dickison, 1999, Vol. 3)

    “Capital crimes, for example, include premeditated killing (murder), kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one’s parents (Ex. 21:14; 21:16;22:18; 22:19; Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 21:17).”

    But you have to go to the wayback machine to find quotes like that anymore. No one is willing to even say aloud the words of Leviticus 20:13.

    I guess it’s up to you to throw the first (and only) stone.

  7. Steve Wells, I think knowing the context for that quote would be most helpful. Unfortunately Volume 3 doesn’t appear to be available online.

  8. Sorry, posted too soon — Steve, since you apparently have access to that volume, would you mind posting the entire paragraph in which your quote appears?

  9. Don’t worry, if you read his “apology” carefully it’s clear he didn’t really apologize and it looks like he he’s going for a reboot. He’ll probably be bullying gays out of there money before you can say “Why did he stop praying the gay away?” Conversion therapy is way to lucrative or Christians to abandon. It’s expensive and since it doesn’t work, you can “treat” them gays basically forever, so it’s one of the best cash cows there is.

    “””””In my mind’s eye, I can see when Lot was leaving Sodom, how there was a group of men at the city limits laughing at him. “You know,” they said, “you’re on the wrong side of history.” Lot’s wife nodded slightly, wishing she had married that Chambers fellow instead.”””””

    And after God was done destroying Sodom and his perverted inhabitants, Lot and his daughters got really drunk and had sex together. God has an eye for recognizing healthy sexuality. 

  10. Jane,

    For some reason that volume was removed a while back. But that’s where the wayback machine comes in handy. Here’s a link: http://web.archive.org/web/19990421075951/www.credenda.org/issues/vol3/magi3-11.htm

    As for context, I’m interested to know when you think it would be acceptable to obey the command in Leviticus 20:13? Would it have been okay at the time it was written? Was it ever a good idea to execute people for committing homosexual acts? Would it be a good idea today? And if so, should we stone them to death or burn them as in the verse that immediately follows Leviticus 20:13? (Leviticus 20:14)

  11. Sorry Jane I posted the wrong link.

    Here’s the one to “Your Eye Shall Not Pity”: http://web.archive.org/web/19991006000635/www.credenda.org/issues/vol3/magi3-9.htm

    And in case that doesn’t work for you, here is the paragraph that the quote came from.

    “The civil magistrate is the minister of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:4). God has not left his civil minister without guidance on how to exercise his office. The Scriptures set forth clear standards of judgment for many offenses. Capital crimes, for example, include premeditated killing (murder), kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one’s parents (Ex. 21:14; 21:16; 22:18; 22:19; Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 21:17).”

  12. Mr. Wells,

    I am not answering for Pastor Wilson, so this is not me saying his potential answer.

    I am asking of you 4 questions:

    Do you think that those judgments and punishments laid out in scripture are wrong?

    Why?

    If something is wrong, should it require some level of consensus to speak against it?

    Why?

  13. Those are difficult questions, RFB, But I’ll try to answer them as best I can.

    “Do you think that those judgments and punishments laid out in scripture are wrong?”

    Well, if we stick to Leviticus 20:13-14, then my answer is, “Yes”.

    It is wrong always and everywhere to kill anyone for the acts mentioned in these two verses. It was wrong at the time these verses were written and it is wrong today. It would be especially wrong to apply the punishment proscribed in Leviticus 20:14 (death by burning).

    “Why?”

    It would be cruel and cruelty is wrong.

    “If something is wrong, should it require some level of consensus to speak against it?”

    No. If something is wrong it is wrong even if there is no consensus on the matter.

    “Why?”

    Morality is not decided by vote.

    Now I have a question for you.

    Is it wrong to burn people to death?

  14. Are there 10 people, 5 people in the city who can still say “no” to our relativistic and hedonistic culture, enslaved to its appetites? From Obamacare, to government surveillance, to sexual promiscuity education, to amnesty for illegals, to abortion pills for 14-year-olds, to gay mirage, even the few who say “no” today, are ready to repent of it tomorrow. One of the last remaining things our culture can shout “no” to is the one who reminds of the need for discipline and self-restraint (and this includes parents who may want to discipline their own children). All of these things are symptoms of a culture that is recklessly out of control.

    But saying “no” to the symptoms is never sufficient in itself. The problem is with the broken worldview of unbelief that creates these symptoms. That’s why Doug doesn’t advocate dropping a civic ban on homosexuality into the current circus. A positive and constructive alternative has to be demonstrated, and the culture turned back to it. I’m grateful for Doug’s consistent voice affirming the broad Biblical standard in every area, and we need more representatives like this. However, the window for debate appears to be shutting down, so it’s increasingly the time for Christians to remember the basics of living our worldview with simple clarity. Let that be our constructive argument. It’s more powerful than we realize. Our faith in Christ is what God uses to overcome the world.

    It seems there are different stages of Christian influence with an unbelieving culture. Some stages call for protracted and patient debate, other stages call for a basic proclamation of repentance without debate. Refusal to negotiate with culture terrorists should be a Christian policy.

  15. katecho asks, “Are there 10 people, 5 people in the city who can still say “no” to our relativistic and hedonistic culture, enslaved to its appetites?”

    To which I ask, “Are there 10 people, 5 people in the city who will still apply the biblical punishment for homosexuality clearly expressed in Leviticus 20:13?”

    God couldn’t find ten good people in Sodom (though there’s no evidence that he bothered to look); could he find ten people in Moscow who are willing to cast stones at homosexuals in Moscow’s Friendship Square? And who is willing to burn the strange threesome of Leviticus 20:14?

    No, Christianity has cratered. Smashed by its own cruel, nasty, and absurd book.

  16. News of Christianity’s death is always greatly exaggerated.

  17. Maybe my post wasn’t clear, but I was being satirical. I was mocking homosexuals whose only defense when they’re called out on their sin is run into a corner and cry, then call their lawyer.

  18. (That as directed at Ron K.)

  19. Please excuse the typoes. Sheesh.

  20. @Steve Wells

    “Morality is not decided by vote.”

    How is it decided?

  21. “It is wrong always and everywhere to kill anyone for the acts mentioned in these two verses.”

    So let’s look at the presuppositions behind this statement:

    1) Lev 20:13-14 says certain sexual activities are worthy of capital punishment
    2) Those activities are acceptable by society now
    3) Lev 20:13-14 must therefore be wrong
    4) God was evil in demanding capital punishment for these activities OR Lev 20:13-14 is not the word of God.

    Why?

    “It would be cruel and cruelty is wrong.”

    Punishment hurts, that’s why it isn’t called dessert. The serious nature of the punishment underscores the serious nature of the offence in the eyes of God.

    Is all punishment wrong in your eyes? And when did your eyes become the measuring stick for God’s law?

    “Morality is not decided by vote.”

    Morality is not decided by you either.

    “Is it wrong to burn people to death?”

    Not when commanded by God as punishment for crime. It is wrong, in fact immoral and evil, to declare that which God has commanded to be evil.

  22. Steve, if morality is not decided by vote, then what is it decided by?

  23. [...] Wilson on Alan Chamber’s apology to the gay community and shutting down Exodus International, “A Moon Crater” , Blog and [...]

  24. Micah,

    I guess Douglas isn’t alone after all!

    You think burning people to death is OK if God commands you to do so as he does in Leviticus 20:14.

    I suppose you’re OK with stoning people to death, too. Like if a woman can’t prove her virginity on her marriage night, right? (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) Or if a woman doesn’t cry out loudly enough when raped. (Deuteronomy 22:23-24) Or if your family or friends have incorrect religious beliefs. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10).

    There’s a long list of people who God commands you to stone. You’re going to need a lot of rocks.

  25. Steve Wells seems desperate to have us be ashamed of Leviticus. Perhaps he’ll wear himself out in the attempt. In the meantime, we have already observed that our duty is not to trap as many people as we can with an external law on an unchanged culture. The idea is not to slam the door to convict as many as we can in their current depravity, rather we want to see the culture changed and then close the legal door on that depravity. Wells sees Leviticus as completely incompatible with our current culture, but unless his imagination is lacking, it isn’t difficult to see a cultural alternative to the enslaved one we’ve got.

    When God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, He drew very near to them, suddenly, and His purpose was to lay His hands on them and heal and shape them into His army. In His nearness to them, the contrast of His righteousness and their sin was severe. He was deliberately putting the fear of God in them. Even the ground was opening up and swallowing the wicked within their camp. But it was also the merciful intervention of a surgeon triaging a bleeding patient. Once they were purged, God sealed the door against their former depravity with a severe civic penalty. Still, this was a unique situation; a historical demonstration of God’s power of redemption, for our sake. The goal is always the same, but God’s normal means of redemption is patient and works through our weakness. In Christ’s Kingdom, it works like leaven. When the leaven is refused and the lump embraces death, then God doesn’t insist that the leaven panic and stop behaving as leaven, rather God rises up to bring judgment– as He did in Sodom, and as He is doing today.

    Christian rulers in an unbelieving culture shouldn’t waste their legislative position of influence to move the culture toward God’s honor, but they don’t have to panic in the face of defeats and opposition. Our power plays can look desperate if we lose faith in the power of the Gospel. God has not lost control of anything, and His purposes are still the same — to redeem the nations for His own possession.

    Doug has simply observed that homosexual acts will be illegal in a converted Christian culture. This will be a natural outworking. It won’t have the desperation of a frustrated man-centered agenda. It will have the purpose of preserving and protecting the culture, not by sealing sinners in their depravity, but by sealing the door ahead of the temptation to depravity (insofar as external legal deterrents can do so).

  26. katecho,

    I have to ask…do you do any sort of regular writing, like on a blog or something like that? I regularly find myself enjoying reading what you write.

    Matthias

  27. katecho,

    You say “Doug has simply observed that homosexual acts will be illegal in a converted Christian culture.” But he (or at least Credenda/Agenda) has done much more than that.

    If Doug had his way, homosexuals would be executed according to the command in Leviticus 20:13 (or perhaps, if he was in an especially good mood, exiled in accordance with 1 Kings 15:11-12).

    Or maybe not. Maybe Doug has changed his mind and is no longer willing to obey God’s nastier commands.

    Someone should ask him.

    (btw, why is everyone here so ashamed of Leviticus 20:13? Mentioning that verse is like confessing a murder around here–which in a way I guess it is.)

  28. Will parachurches (and megachurches) update their bylaws to show that they are reaffirming time-tested church doctrines and guarding against the problems highlighted in the following paragraph? Doug Wilson writes, “This was an organization clearly dependent, in an unhealthy way, on one guy. It was a parachurch organization, and its governmental structure was plainly not built for the ages. Like so many evangelical parachurch operations, it appears to have been the kind of thing that revolved around. . . its president in a way that ceded way too much authority to him.”

  29. Steve,

    Virgil has a good answer for Dante when Dante appears to pity the tormented souls in Hell. I think it applies here too.

    “Here pity, or here piety, must die
    If the other lives; who’s wickeder than one
    That’s agonised by God’s high equity?”

  30. Steve Wells,

    I’m still interested to know how you call one thing evil and not another. Where do you get your standard of good and evil? Not from the majority, I assume. But where? You can’t say cruelty is immoral without appealing to a source of morality. What is that source?

  31. Steve,

    It is perhaps as tired a response as there can be in this kind of dialog, but for the sake of clarity, I would point out that the Leviticus passage condemns homosexual intercourse.

  32. Kyle,

    I use the Potter Stewart standard for cruelty. ( I know it when I see it.) And by that standard Leviticus 20:13 is cruel.

    But if you don’t think it’s cruel to stone or burn people to death or if you just enjoy cruelty, then the Bible is for you. I know of no other book that approves of such things–not even the Quran (though it does say to cut off a thief’s hand, which might appeal to you).

  33. Moor,

    You say “the Leviticus passage condemns homosexual intercourse.”

    Which Leviticus passage are you referring to? Leviticus 18:22 or Leviticus 20:13?

    The former condemns male homosexual intercourse as an abomination; the latter tells you what God wants you to do with people who perform such acts (kill them).

    And Leviticus 20:13 isn’t a suggestion; it’s a commandment.

  34. I copied this from one of your linked sites, Steve:

    “The civil magistrate is the minister of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:4). God has not left his civil minister without guidance on how to exercise his office. The Scriptures set forth clear standards of judgment for many offenses.”

    Now, since we know that the bible was written by men, what does this sound like? Does it sound like the way a supposedly omnipotent god would take care of business? Or does it sound like something a man wrote to justify his own wish to effect punishment of those he felt were violating god’s made-up-by-men “laws”?

    If this supposed god had any guts (the courage of his convictions), he would punish these transgressions directly, in a “surgical drone strike” manner. How would a Bronze Age goat herder punish these “crimes”? Just the way they are recommended in the bible… by localized, simple (crude), mechanical violence.

    Another good example is the “flood”, in which god supposedly killed almost every living thing on earth- including untold thousands (conservatively) of pregnant women. An all-powerful god would have (reasonably) spared the un-born and selectively targeted the sinners; he did it in Egypt. Of course, in Egypt an all-knowing god would have known which houses to spare; a Bronze-Age goat herder would have thought it was pretty clever to splash a little blood on a few doors.

    Everything about crime and punishment in the old testament has the fingerprints of Bronze-Age, goat-herding men on it.

    @ Luke B. and Matthias: Morality is an evolved characteristic of humans. It is also observable in non-human primates and even non-mammalian species. There is an obvious survival advantage to most moral behavior, especially among social animals like the apes (including humans; we are risen apes, not fallen angels).

    Oh, sorry… you probably don’t accept evolution as an explanation for the way the world looks today, even though the evidence for it is virtually bullet-proof. You really should read more than just one book!
    Steve

  35. Rick Davis,

    I’m not sure what the make of the Virgil/Dante standard of cruelty. Does it mean that we shouldn’t pity people who are burned to death by those who obey Leviticus 20:14?

  36. [...] “A Moon Crater” – Doug Wilson on Exdous International’s apology to the gay community. (Blog and Mablog) [...]

  37. Steve Wells,

    Not much of an answer to Kyle B’s question. How do you know it when you see it? You still need a frame of reference. Given most cultures in most times and places have seen fit to dispatch miscreants, often via some fairly harsh means, why do you suppose your sensibilities are what they are?

  38. Matthias wrote:
    “I have to ask…do you do any sort of regular writing, like on a blog or something like that? I regularly find myself enjoying reading what you write.”

    Careful, you’ll just encourage me. :)
    I’m actually trying to cut back on my wordiness on the internets. Maybe I’ll just focus here where I’m loved, but I think I’m in danger of writing more words on Doug’s blog than he does.

    While I struggle to find the right balance, I really do appreciate the encouragement. Thank you for taking the time to offer it.

  39. Sure, the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. You know what it implies is most definitely NOT a sin in any way, shape or form? Buying and selling human beings for one’s own profit.

    Right, Doug?

    Perhaps we should reinstitute slavery. Think of how much cheaper healthy food would be to the overweight amongst “God’s Elect” if we could simply get the “bean pickers” to work for next to nothing.

  40. By Steve Wells’ lights, sin is just not the sort of thing for which death or torment is ever an appropriate wage due. Sin against God is perhaps the subject of reform, penitence, or maybe fines, but not death or torment. Hell is just cruelty, and any taste of hell on earth is mean. God has much to learn about public relations, apparently.

    On the other hand, what if God is actually holy and awe-full and righteous in His judgments? What if our sin really is that bad? What if eternal torment really is justified? This would indicate that our acts and choices are far more meaningful and significant than the flash-in-the-pan, atom-soup theories would suggest.

    In the godless paradigm, actions and choices in this life don’t mean anything, let alone anything of eternal consequence, be it heaven or hell. There’s just nothing to get burnt up about, not even other people getting burnt up. From star dust back to ashes, as they say. None of it means anything. It’s just constant background noise and radiation leading up to the eternal heat death of homogeneous space. Steve Wells’ offenses just contribute to the noise on the way down.

    Only under the terror of God’s righteous eye do we ever grasp how much meaning has been invested in every idle word we speak and every cup of water given to a lowly and thirsty soul.

  41. “Like so many evangelical parachurch operations, it appears to have been the kind of thing that revolved around its personali . . . its president in a way that ceded way too much authority to him.”

    How is this different from what’s been set up in Moscow?

  42. Doug,

    I’m probably too late in the thread to get your response, but what would you think if Exodus had said something along the lines this?

    “After much prayer and consideration, we have decided to discontinue our operations. We are no longer convinced that reparative therapy is the best way to minister to the so-called gay community or to call to repentance those living an openly homosexual lifestyle. With this, we want to emphasize that we have not changed our Biblical position and believe that Scripture is abundantly clear that acts of homosexuality are clearly a violation of God’s holy law, for which God calls us to repentance and restoration. However, it is our belief that those struggling with these sins are generally not well served by trying to become heterosexual in their orientation but many could best fulfill God’s plan and desire for their life through singleness and abstinence.”

  43. katecho,

    I wanted to take the opportunity to echo the encouragement without seeming obsequious. Continue the mission, sir!

    Mr. Wells,

    Since you say that you “know it when you see it”, then what happens when you encounter someone (or many someones) who disagrees? Do you only call upon yourself, or the voices of your sympathizers as your standard of good and evil?

  44. That was beautiful, katecho!

    Under the terror of God’s righteous eye you’ll be stoning and burning people to death while giving cups of water to lowly and thirsty souls.

    So I guess Doug won’t be the only one throwing stones and lighting fires. Micah and katecho will be right there with him.

    Will any others here be joining them as they stone and burn non-virgin brides, rape victims, sabbath breakers, homosexuals, disobedient children, witches, blasphemers, and nonbelievers to death in Friendship Square?

  45. Mr. Wells,

    I also wanted to answer your question of me, and you can use this as my comprehensive answer for any further questions of similar construct.

    You may have seen the bumper sticker that says “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”. I do not agree with that.

    Mine would say “God said it, that settles it.”

    Or, to paraphrase a few good men,

    “…we have no need to answer you in this matter…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand. But if not, let it be known to you, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the image which you have set up.”

  46. Steve,

    It’s clear that you do not hold homosexuality to be as heinous as the Bible describes it. So, the first thing to observe is that you have a different ultimate authority that you appeal to when it comes to your sexual ethics. You do not tell us what that is.

    At least for those of us who are trying to be people of the book, the Bible indicates that the law of God is useful for restraining certain outward evil acts. One of those is homosexuality (I Tim. 1:8-10). Paul says it is lawful for the law to be used in such a fashion.

    Doug has touched on this many times over, but it bears stating again. The laws you find so repulsive on their face are made for a society who will, on the main, willingly follow them. They are not the blueprint for winning the majority control of the House and Senate, and then legislating things like adultery, or witchcraft, or sodomy away.

    In a society willing to live by those laws, the irony is that such a society would, in one sense, not need them outwardly imposed, since the majority of people in such a society would already be following them. Or else, those laws would never be voted for.

    What the penalty would be could be debatable depending on the circumstances, but at least in some cases, you are correct, execution by the civil magistrate (and not the people who, as private citizens, you attempt to harangue as needing to practice vigilantism) would be called for. In what cases, and how that would be carried out, I think is also debatable. However, what is more important for Christians today is not debating the penology, but rather come to the realization that the Bible does not consider sodomy to be a civil right, and certainly not something to celebrate. It needs to be put back in the closet, because a dark closet is an appropriate place for dark deeds, as opposed to main street or the White House.

    When you state that these laws are cruel, you assume that the perpetrators of such acts are innocent. But, Steve, if the Bible is to be believed, then apparently these acts are so heinous, that in some circumstances, the only appropriate punishment by the appointed authorities is execution by the civil magistrate. Which is to say that God is love, and that He also commands that society restrain these sorts of social ills, sometimes with force, and sometimes with capital punishment.

    If the Bible is to be trusted, then the natural inclination we have toward right and wrong is not to be trusted. To start with the same independence as Eve demonstrated, it is not surprising that you reach the conclusions you do.

  47. David, do you believe the establishment clause regarding religion in the 1st amendment should be repealed?

    Because the only way the Bible in the US can be used for legislation is if that clause is removed from our Constitution.

  48. Steve Wells, you are being critical of the Bible without really understanding it.

    Israel was a church-state. Thus it had excommunication and also execution. After the exile, Israel was more like a church within a Gentile state. Without its own king, it did not have the power of execution, but was called to a role of greater maturity, that is, serving as a prophetic witness to the Gentile nations. It still had the power of excommunication. The church, an even more mature stage, is an Israel made of all nations, and with the Spirit has this prophetic role (a legal witness) within not just the empire but the entire world. Pastor Wilson is simply carrying out that prophetic ministry: be warned. I am not your judge. God is. And if you silence the saints, especially if blood is shed, God will wipe out our entire culture.

    So, you won’t find Pastor Wilson stoning or burning people, just as you can’t find the Jews stoning Jesus. All they could do was excommunicate Him. They had to call on the Romans to execute Him. What did Jesus do? He gave them one generation, then called the Romans to execute them, which they did.

    I hope this helps you to see how myopic are your comments concerning Leviticus. Do some homework before you start throwing around such slurs.

  49. Who knew there were so many stone throwers here!

    Now we have katecho, Micah, RFB, and David joining the stoning and burning party! Maybe Douglas won’t have to cast the first stone (or any stone) after all. He’ll just pronounce the sentence and his loyal followers will do it for him.

    But I am puzzled by this “civil magistrate” business. The Bible says nothing about it.

    Here, for example, is what it says in Deuteronomy 13:6-10:

    “If thy brother … or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods … Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die.”

    No civil magistrate is required. If your son, daughter, wife,or friend ask you to worship another god, you are to stone him or her to death–and you are to throw the first stone, without pity. And then all of the others (katecho, Micah, RFB, and David) join in.

    The Bible commands you to stone to death, without pity, your family, friends, and neighbors if their religious beliefs differ from your own (Well, if they push them, anyway)

    God made it clear enough in Deuteronomy 13:6-10. Are you willing to obey him?

    Sign up here.

  50. Will the real weaker brother please stand up?

  51. Steve,

    I’m pretty sure I’ve violated some of the statutes and laws in Leviticus. Leviticus 20:9 comes to mind. A good many of us have probably broken that law in our teenage years. According to God’s Law and Leviticus, we do deserve to be executed. I guess you and I should stand together in Friendship Square and have rocks thrown at us til we are dead.

    But guess what? God already executed someone else in our place for our cursing, adulterating, homosexual, lying, cheating ways. Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) to see how, what, and who God did to fulfill all those laws lined out in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

    God made it clear enough in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, etc. Will you obey him?

    Yes, Christ has conquered and fulfilled the law. Victorious by his own merciful and gracious sacrifice, as recorded in Christianity’s favorite absurd book.

  52. Mike Bull,

    You say I should “do some homework before throwing around such slurs.”

    But I did my homework, Mike. It’s true that you “won’t find Pastor Wilson stoning or burning people.” But it’s also true that he believes people should be stoned to death when the Bible requires it.

    And yet it seems there are some biblical punishments that are too cruel even for Mr. Wilson. For example, he.is unwilling to administer the punishment God calls for in Leviticus 20:14. At least that’s what he said here on June 30, 2005.

    So apparently Doug thinks it is wrong to burn people to death. Or at least he did then.

    Someone should ask him what he thinks about it now.

  53. Re: steve wells
    “God made it clear enough in Deuteronomy 13:6-10. Are you willing to obey him? Sign up here.”

    I find it amusing that someone who doesn’t take the bible seriously is telling people that do take the bible seriously that they are obviously wrong.

  54. Nick Holloway,

    You seem to believe that Jesus invalidated the laws and punishments of the Old Testament. And there are many Christians who agree with you, But Doug Wilson is not one of them. And since this is his blog, I’m addressing his beliefs here.

  55. Christopher Casey,

    So should I take your comment as a “Yes, I am willing to stone to death my non-believing family, friends, and neighbors in accordance with Deuteronomy 13:6-10″ or “No, I am not”?

  56. Steve Wells

    My previous comment has no indication of my willingness or unwillingness so you shouldn’t take it either way.

  57. Wheee! I’m going to take the troll-bait. I’m even going to do it using a syllogism.

    All God-given laws are perfectly just and equitable.
    All Levitical lwas are God-given laws.
    Therefore, all Levitical laws are perfectly just and equitable.

    Ooh and one more.

    All criticism of just and equitable laws is wickedness.
    All criticism of Levitical laws is criticism of just and equitable laws.
    Therefore, all criticism of Levitical laws is wickedness.

    Now, “Dawn take you all and be stone to you!” as Gandalf would say.

  58. Wheee! I’m going to take the troll-bait. I’m even going to do it using a syllogism.

    All God-given laws are perfectly just and equitable.
    All Levitical laws are God-given laws.
    Therefore, all Levitical laws are perfectly just and equitable.

    Ooh and one more.

    All criticism of just and equitable laws is wickedness.
    All criticism of Levitical laws is criticism of just and equitable laws.
    Therefore, all criticism of Levitical laws is wickedness.

    Now, “Dawn take you all and be stone to you!” as Gandalf would say.

  59. Christopher Casey,

    “My previous comment has no indication of my willingness or unwillingness so you shouldn’t take it either way.”

    So you’re not sure if you’re willing to stone your family, friends, and neighbors in accordance with Deuteronomy 13:6-10 (assuming they suggest that you serve another god)?

    Well, think about it a bit more and let me know what you decide.

  60. Rick Davis,

    So I guess your joining God’s stoning/burning posse. That makes five.

  61. Steve Wells,

    I’m definitely sure one way or the other, but unless you are one of my friends, family, or neighbors the answer is irrelevant to you.

  62. Hey Steve,
    I would be willing to obey the stoning laws if I ever find myself living under a theonomy. I do think that God’s laws are just. If our society ever adopts them I would obey.
    Tim

  63. Steve,

    I did say fulfill, didn’t I? Christ didn’t invalidate those laws. He fulfilled them. Matthew 5:17-20. I’m pretty sure Pastor Wilson wouldn’t say any differently as I’ve understood in the context of his writings and speaking as I have heard it , but I’ll let him speak for himself.

    That is the good news, right? That we won’t be executed for violating Leviticus 20:9 etc.? Christ’s standing in our place and dying for what we deserve according to God’s law doesn’t invalidate those laws. He fulfills them. Both in the past, now, and in the future.

  64. Tim M.,

    So you would be willing to stone to death your wife, son, daughter, or friend in accordance with Leviticus 20:13 if any of them suggested that you become a Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, or Muslim?

    For their sake, I hope Doug never gets his long-desired theonomy.

  65. Actually, Nick, Mr. Wilson believes that you should have been executed for cursing you parents, just like it says in Leviticus 20:9 and Deuteronomy 21:18-21. Or at least he used to. Here’s what Credenda/Agenda (The Church as Advisor, Vol 5):

    “[A] father may (and must) discipline his son, but he may not exercise capital punishment against him on his own authority. Instead, he must bring a son worthy of death to the elders of the city, who are charged with applying the civil penalty (Prov. 13:24; Deut. 21:18-21).”

    In fact, Doug may think you should still be executed for your “worthy of death” infraction, since I don’t think there is any biblical statute of limitations that would apply here.

    You might ask Pastor Wilson and see what he says. Just make sure there aren’t any rocks around.

  66. Let’s try Mr. Wells’s “standard” out as a thought experiment. If I’m not mistaken, and according to the Potter Stewart standard I cannot be mistaken in this instance, then Mr. Wells is an extraordinarily cruel person for everything he has written in this thread. And I know cruelty when I see it. His comments are top-tier tyranny if ever there existed such (and, clearly, there does exist such).

  67. Steve,

    I think I’ll bow out of this conversation. Your attributing an article written by Greg Dickison to Doug Wilson in the Crendenda/Agenda The Church as Advisor, Vol 5 that seems to be slightly off center to the discussion and brings the fairness of your attributions to Doug into question and thus makes this whole conversation suspect as to your motives.

    Yes, Doug probably does think that I should be executed for my “worthy of death” infraction… and so do I. Because we both believe in the totality of the Bible.

    But again, thanks be to God for our Lord Jesus Christ who has fulfilled the law through his death and resurrection so that I do not have to be justly executed in the city square for my law-breaking.

  68. Christ has fulfilled the law, not by setting aside the death due for sin, but by taking up our sins on Himself and then taking the death penalty of the law in its full force. Death is still the rightful consequence of sin, and we still die. But if we die in Christ, then death will have no grip on us, just like it had no grip on Christ. He passed through death into glorified life, and He leads the way through death for all of those in Him. Death has no victory over Him. Though we die, yet shall we live.

    So Christ didn’t die for us to simply escape our death wage, rather He died so that we could die with Him, and He lives again so that we can live again in Him.

    It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. — 2Timothy 2:11

    For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. — Colossians 3:3-4

  69. Steve,

    Do we get official posse t-shirts?

  70. This frightening thread is perfect evidence of how man-made religions continue to poison the minds of men in the 21st century.

    With the encouragement of hysterical, fanatical clerics and men “of faith”, otherwise empathetic people become willing to suspend that natural sense of empathy so that they may terrorize, torture and kill others in the most unimaginable ways possible (or at the very least, justify these acts). Someone worshipping the “wrong god”? Burn them alive and watch their skin blacken. Picking up sticks on the Sabbath? Having a relationship with someone of the “wrong” gender? Bury them in sand and beat their heads in with rocks.

    Do you really think there’s any difference between this mindset and that of the Muslim in Great Britain who held a man down and chopped off his head with a meat cleaver? There is none.

  71. @James
    What I find fascinating is that Christianity calls many people to suspend their natural sense of vicious competitiveness (you know that Darwinian survival of the fittest stuff, red in tooth and claw and whatnot) and perform acts of love for their neighbors. I also find it fascinating that the belief that humans are uncreated beings with no telos who are doomed to eventual extinction could lead anyone to believe in a natural sense of empathy that is not merely the result of evolution and is therefore authoritative.

    Also, for my fellow members of what Steve Wells has fondly dubbed “God’s Stoning/Burning Posse”, I made this. And I think it would be an absolutely awesome name for a speed metal band.
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-IHLbPy7RugQ/UcWLp3G99NI/AAAAAAAADDo/SNqOHV5EZd8/s383/GSBP.jpg

  72. [...] by Doug Wilson of Blog and Mablog – A Moon Crater [...]

  73. For those of you condemning homosexuals you have forgotten your own need for Christ! 50% of you live in adultery divorced/ remarried and the others are condemned by your judgment of others.
    Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped. and all the world may be guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Repentance is a changing of one’s mind to the truth that we are all sinners and are the reason Christ had to die to pay our debt. By his sacrifice we have access to God and salvation. Take your choice 1 salvation through Christ and faith in him which precludes judgment of others. 2 or by your own works with boasting and condemnation of others and face an angry God.
    Go into ALL of the world AND PREACH THE GOSPEL AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. WE ARE SAVED BY FAITH AND NOT BY WORKS.

  74. Hey Steve,
    If I lived in a theonomy my eye would not pity them.
    Tim

  75. Steve,

    When I wrote so long ago about what Leviticus condemns, I should have been more clear. I was drawing attention to the fact that the Leviticus passages specifically condemn intercourse (as opposed to same-sex attraction). The implications for this in the context of the current discussion are numerous, though the main one on my mind is this: it would mean that in this future world, celibate gay people wouldn’t come under the penalty ascribed in Leviticus.

    Now, that probably does little by way of distinction in your view of things, but I bring it up because so far it seems you have wanted to imply that in this hypothetical future world, all gay people would be lined up and stoned. Such is not the case. Only those caught in the act of homosexual intercourse (or for whom it could be proven, I would think) would be subject to capital punishment.

    In the end, all such discussions come down to this one, fundamental question:

    Does God have our best interest in mind?

    You would answer “no” or “not your god”.
    I would answer “yes” (the God revealed in Christ and the Bible does).

    There will be no agreement from beyond this divergence.

  76. [...] A Moon Crater – This was an organization clearly dependent, in an unhealthy way, on one guy. It was a parachurch organization, and its governmental structure was plainly not built for the ages. Like so many evangelical parachurch operations, it appears to have been the kind of thing that revolved around its personali . . . its president in a way that ceded way too much authority to him. The mainline denominations are all going through this very same apostasy, but notice for them how agonizingly slowly it has gone. This is because there is still some measure of accountability there, and thus the possibility of effective opposition. – Doug Wilson [...]

  77. Tim M.,

    If I lived in a theonomy my eye would not pity them.

    So you would stone to death your entire family if they refused to serve the god of your theonomy? And you would do it without showing the slightest pity.

    I think you’re done now, Tim. Your heart has been sufficiently hardened by the vicious (but imaginary) god of the Bible.

  78. Nick Holloway,

    Yes, the Credenda/Agenda article that says you should be executed in accordance with Leviticus 20:9 was written by Greg Dickison, not Doug Wilson. But Mr. Dickison was writing for Pastor Wilson’s church. If Doug disagrees with what was written on his church’s behalf, he could clear the whole matter up by saying so.

  79. katecho,

    Christ has fulfilled the law . . . . . . .

    Does this mean you are resigning from the posse? You won’t be throwing stones or lighting fires when Doug’s theonomy comes to town?

    There goes your t-shirt.

  80. Steve,

    If I lived in a theonomy, I would obey the Bible and would stone my entire family to death if they tried to entice me to worship false gods, my eye would not pity them.

    The interesting thing is about this conversation is the fact that the Bible says that the ones with the hardened hearts are the ones whose consciences are no longer conformed to the will of God, i.e. you.

    Tim

  81. Tim, while I appreciate satire, it’s only effective when it’s discernible from insanity. You’re right on the border.

    If you’re serious, well …. do society a favor and seek medical attention. NOW. They make really good medications that will help silence the voices in your head.

  82. The “first things” links above give useful comments from the standard Christian perspective: “gay” attractions exist and are not to be put into physical practice. Thompsonian Times just gives a brief quote or summary from pastor WIlson’s article.

  83. It would be dishonest for me to pretend that I share your opposition to SSM. Even so, I find the multiplicity of your arguments against it unconvincing—surely, your interpretation of Leviticus is sufficient IF we live in a theocratic state based on the moral laws of ancient tribes. When you add arguments such as the possibility of polygamy, the remote chance of persecution of Christians who won’t invite gays to dinner, the fact that you seem to imagine that real marriage is only based on an active-passive sexual dichotomy, and the obvious reality that effeminacy disgusts you, your stance is weakened. In your most recent post, you assert that your motive is to ensure that practicing homosexuals realize that they are damned without Christ (true for us all), presumably by surrounding them with such social condemnation that they realize their wickedness. I don’t see how one logically flows from the other. The Catholic church is still able to preach against remarriage after divorce without any help from the civil authorities. It is legally able to refuse to recognize these marriages and to assert that they are not marriages at all—and it does. It does not need the state’s cooperation in telling remarried Catholics that they are living in open adultery. Christians have succeeded in evangelizing abortionists and their supporters without any assistance from the state. But the most important comment I wanted to make is this: Many of your posts about homosexuals reflect not an earnestly felt abhorrence of the sin but rather a sniggering contempt of those who commit it. There have been too many coarse jests, nasty terms, and cheap debating tricks more appropriate to teenaged boys who find humor in picking on gays. I don’t think you get to take the moral high ground (I care only for their salvation) while using rhetoric that indicates scorn, not love, for the sinner. Judging only from your words in these posts, I cannot imagine that the loathing you communicate for effeminacy in itself would lead a homosexual person to want to follow the Lord you know and love. At least Jonathan Edwards could envision sinners hanging over the abyss without any desire to make fun of them.

  84. Hey James,

    Are you saying that it would have been insane for an Israelite to obey the Torah, absolutely, with no reaervations?

    Aaron had to show no pity for his two sons Nadab and Abihu when they offered strange fire. He wasn’t allowed to mourn their deaths, because God needed to be vindicated.

    I don’t think it’s insanity to vindicate God’s character.
    Tim

  85. I think there’s a little bit of misinterpretation of Pastor Wilson’s position going on here. Katecho, you say “That’s why Doug doesn’t advocate dropping a civic ban on homosexuality into the current circus”, and several people seem to think that Doug only advocates following these laws in the case of a theonomy.

    But if I remember correctly, Pastor Wilson has lamented the repeal of anti-sodomy laws. When he appeared to be doing that in an earlier blog post, I asked him for clarification as to whether he felt the laws should be reinstated, but he chose not to answer that question.

    As long as someone thinks that anti-sodomy laws are okay in our current form of government, I’m not clear on exactly what their distinction between “in a theonomy” and “not in a theonomy” laws should be. Nor what criteria they’re using to determine how severely a violation of such a law should be punished, or if they believe in some non-theonomy limit. What exactly is the “theonomy/not-theonomy” distinction in terms of law? As far as I can tell, people are just saying, “I’d only follow that one if I was living in a theonomy” as an excuse for passing the buck on any law they wouldn’t want to actually advocate for.

  86. “Are there 10 people, 5 people in the city who can still say “no” to our relativistic and hedonistic culture, enslaved to its appetites? From Obamacare, to government surveillance, to sexual promiscuity education, to amnesty for illegals, to abortion pills for 14-year-olds, to gay mirage, even the few who say “no” today, are ready to repent of it tomorrow.”

    Obamacare? Illegals? You forgot “confiscatory taxes” and “threatening other nations with war”; otherwise you would have made the perfect “right-wing Republican policy masquerading as Christian truth” list.

  87. Jonathan appears to be doing what NT Wright warns Americans not to do, i.e. to identify conservative theology with the right-wing/left-wing political ideology. Jonathan also missed his target completely. For the record, I never once voted for Romney, McCain, Dole, or even Bush Jr., largely because I don’t confuse my conservative theology with political parties.

    I certainly could have listed more things that should be said “no” to, however, in spite of Harry Reid’s delusion that our tax system is voluntary, taxes really are confiscatory in their nature. The government will seize by force if taxes aren’t paid. The question is whether particular taxes are justified within the legitimate role of the State. The government has an authority to tax, so the problem isn’t confiscatory taxes, generally speaking. Perhaps Jonathan meant vice taxes or punitive taxes that are used to punish or manipulate behavior or groups, rather than simply raise revenue. I could certainly say “no” to that, but it doesn’t make Jonathan’s left-right distinction since both parties participate in it.

    There’s a similar problem with the phrase “threatening other nations with war”. Defensive war is actually one of the few things that rightly falls inside the State’s jurisdiction. So threats of war aren’t categorically something to be opposed. The circumstances matter. I could have mentioned the problem of trying to behave like an empire to police the affairs of other nations (such as providing funds and munitions to the rebels in other regions) but those agendas seem to fall on both the left- and right-wing sides of the aisle, so it wouldn’t have served Jonathan’s complaint.

  88. Jonathan wrote:
    “As far as I can tell, people are just saying, “I’d only follow that one if I was living in a theonomy” as an excuse for passing the buck on any law they wouldn’t want to actually advocate for.”

    Jonathan is testifying against himself that he can’t tell very far.

    Here is what I said on the issue, in this very thread:

    “we have already observed that our duty is not to trap as many people as we can with an external law on an unchanged culture. The idea is not to slam the door to convict as many as we can in their current depravity, rather we want to see the culture changed and then close the legal door on that depravity.”

    I also said:

    “Doug has simply observed that homosexual acts will be illegal in a converted Christian culture. This will be a natural outworking. It won’t have the desperation of a frustrated man-centered agenda. It will have the purpose of preserving and protecting the culture, not by sealing sinners in their depravity, but by sealing the door ahead of the temptation to depravity (insofar as external legal deterrents can do so).”

    I didn’t use the word theonomy because Christ has already plundered the strong man’s house, and is already seated on the throne of Heaven ruling the nations, and the nations are being brought to His feet and discipled. That we don’t yet see the nations acknowledging His rule and law doesn’t mean the ruling structure of the world hasn’t been changed. The false theonomies that we must still cope with today are based on false gods and idols.

    So I’m not attempting to establish a theonomy, but rather to have every authority publicly acknowledge the current theonomy. In other words, I want to see public policy reflect and honor the reality of Christ as King over kings, but not as a paper thin veneer over an unchanged culture. The false theonomies can’t prevail against the crownrights of Christ our King.

    So when should homosexual behavior be made illegal? When the people are ready to honor God with their laws, to provide a severe deterrent against such rebellion (which is an act of love). In other words, I’m not advocating a legal code that misrepresents its culture. In ancient Israel, there was quite a bit of purging of sin in the camp (by God) before God’s civic law became a suitable representation and deterrent for them. God may have to purge our camp before we are ready for His Law in our hearts and in our courts. The people need to change first, through the Gospel, and perhaps a great deal of reaping what we have sown. All of the current policy changes in favor of homosexual mirage and abortion, etc, are simply accurate labeling of our culture as being ripe for judgment. We are lighting the target, as they say.

    God will do the purging and bring the due penalty of their error upon them. He gives us the role of messenger of His mercy. What a great God we serve. We get the pleasant role of being the voice of reconciliation and forgiveness.

  89. I think it might be helpful to recognize that Steve Wells, James and Jonathan are probably commenting on this thread because they troll Christian blog sites specifically to find threads on this subject. It is evident that they are not searching for truth, but rather an opportunity to hone their argument skills. So then, why choose Christian sites on which to comment? Because they think that if they can silence the church regarding their addictive sin, their conscience will no longer sear them.

    I have lived long enough to watch the path of homosexuality as it has slowly permeated our culture. The public face began tentatively appearing in the 1970′s with the mere presence of a ‘very nice’ homosexual guy who would make friends with you (this, on a Christian college campus) before revealing what he was. All he wanted “…was to be accepted as a normal member of society who did as he wished regarding …what goes on behind closed doors”. In order to accomplish this we were told they [homosexuals] simply wanted ‘civil unions’ but would never demand to adopt children. Then they said they only wanted committed, monogamous relationships. Then they said they would never demand marriage. Then they said they would never want to get into the church. Then they said we had to accept as perfectly normal, “Bisexual” behavior (people who have intercourse with both sexes). Now we must accept little boys in kindergarten who dress like a girl and demand to pee with the little girls. We now hear advocates of legalizing Pedophilia and it will happen. Each piece of this puzzle gets faithfully put into place before an unwitting public and an equally unwitting church. I must agree with Pastor Doug when he states that these events will not bring judgment but actually are judgment. The only hope is for the church to repent of her own sins and to pray for the repentance of this nation. “If MY people, which are called by MY name, will Humble themselves and Pray, and Seek my face, and Turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and heal their land.” I am, thankfully, beginning to see this happen. I appreciate so many great comments here.

  90. katecho,

    I join Jonathan in testifying against myself (or whatever) ; I can’t tell very far what the heck it is that you’re saying. It seems you are trying very hard to say nothing at all — while making it all sound very nice indeed.

    I’d like to know how you think it should be. We all know that it will never actually be that way, and we are thankful for that. But if you had your way, how would it be?

    If (reason forbid) we were finally “ready for His Law in our hearts and in our court,” would non-celibate homosexual men be executed according to Leviticus 20:13?

    I’m hoping for a Matthew 5:37 type answer here. Your t-shirt depends on your response.

  91. Aaron had to show no pity for his two sons Nadab and Abihu when they offered strange fire. He wasn’t allowed to mourn their deaths, because God needed to be vindicated.

    Tim M. has a point here. God not only killed Aaron’s two sons — he burned them to death. Moses warned Aaron not to mourn his sons’ death or God will kill him too. (Leviticus 10:1-6)

    And God killed Ezekiel’s wife and told him not to mourn her in Ezekiel 24:16-17.

    So God probably meant what he said in Deuteronomy 13:6-10. (When you stone to death your family and friends for asking you to serve other gods, for God’s sake don’t pity them.)

    I just hope Tim doesn’t make make any vows to God when the spirit of the Lord comes upon him after returning home from a very great slaughter. Or else he may end up sacrificing his daughter. (Judges 11:29-36)

    A believer’s gotta do what a believer’s gotta do.

  92. Now that Douglas has promised to answer the question (Should Leviticus 20:13 be applied today?), I thought it’d be fun to see who has so far volunteered for the stoning/burning posse.

    Here are the ones that seem to be willing to stone and/or burn people to death in accordance with biblical law (let me know if I’ve misunderstood your views):

    Micah
    RFB
    David
    Rick Davis
    Tim M. (Tim M. is posse deputy and will get a special badge.)

    And here are those that haven’t yet decided:

    Christopher Casey
    Moor

    Everyone else seems unwilling to stone or burn people to death.

    Now we just have to wait until Pastor Wilson answers the question.

    (Posse members: Let me know your size so I can get you your t-shirt.)

  93. Steve Wells wrote:
    “We all know that it will never actually be that way, and we are thankful for that. But if you had your way, how would it be?”

    Steve must be a prophet in his own religion, able to pronounce the future. And what is his thankfulness about? Thankful to whom? Fate? In the Christian faith, it is God who has pronounced the end from the beginning, and has surely promised the nations to the Son as His inheritance. Given that Christianity has grown from around 120 disciples to the dominant faith on the planet, I’m not convinced to abandon God’s prophecy. If Steve Wells wants to comfort himself that the redemption of the world through Christ will never happen, then it will be all the more surprising and miraculous when it does. After all, God loves to show His power through that which is perceived to be weak. In any case, this victory is God’s plan, and His to bring about. Steve Wells has everything and nothing to fear from faithful Christians who are simply entrusted with the message of this victory.

    “If (reason forbid) we were finally “ready for His Law in our hearts and in our court,” would non-celibate homosexual men be executed according to Leviticus 20:13?”

    I’m not sure how many would actually be executed, given that the severe penalty is intended to be an effective deterrent in the first place. How many homosexuals were executed within the camp of ancient Israel? I don’t know that any were explicitly recorded, but there apparently weren’t the bloodbaths that Steve Wells imagines from his position of fear and horror. In any case, I do believe that within a Christian culture, even with due process, room for repentance, etc, the maximum penalty for unrepentant homosexual rebellion against the created order would be the death penalty. I believe that love for God’s people in that culture would entail strong civic barriers and deterrents against high sexual rebellion in its more serious forms, including homosexual acts, beastiality, rape, etc. But notice that even in the case of murder, the maximum sentence is not a mandatory sentence or the only sentence available, and I think that this principle would be reflected in future God-honoring societies as well.

    A civic law can appear as a corral to trap and ensnare as many as possible, or as a deterrent to protect against a dangerous cliff. It all depends a great deal on which side of the fence the vulnerable ones are on when the fence goes up. Steve Wells doesn’t seem able to acknowledge this distinction, though it has been explained to him several times now.

    “I’m hoping for a Matthew 5:37 type answer here. Your t-shirt depends on your response.”

    Like the legs which hang down from the lame, so is Matthew 5:37 coming from Steve Wells’ keyboard. Steve apparently didn’t check the context first. If I am going to make an oath before God, to bind myself, then I should not swear by heaven or earth, or load up my vow with all sorts of conditions and disclaimers. My yes and no should be straightforward and simple so that the keeping of my vow will also be plain to see, without room for excuses. However, I’m not swearing any oaths to God in this conversation, so Steve has simply misappropriated Matthew. In this context, where Steve is demanding an answer on his terms in order to deal hastily with Scripture, that’s the time Christ would usually break out the parables and teaching lessons. In this situation, i prefer to relax, slow down a bit and offer some more lengthy explanations to head off all of Steve’s reckless distortions. Why should we be bothered with his impatience? Time is on our side, not his.

    Finally, I’m not interested in Wells’ t-shirt offer. God is a far richer rewarder of those who seek Him, and He knows His own without the need for t-shirts.

  94. Hey Steve,
    I would love a T-shirt size medium. Make mine say God’s Law is righteous, holy, and good. Thanks for honorable mention :)
    Tim

  95. Elise, everything you said about me is a wicked lie.

    Katecho says: “Jonathan appears to be doing what NT Wright warns Americans not to do, i.e. to identify conservative theology with the right-wing/left-wing political ideology.”

    No, I said that’s what you were doing. I don’t believe that the identification is correct at all. For example, could show you several Bible passages stating that we are to treat immigrants as well as we treat native-born, not to mention several dozen other passages that also support loving immigrants in that way.

    As far as whether we live in a theonomy or not, if you weren’t the one using the theonomy, Katecho, then obviously that didn’t apply to you. If you think that use of the word “theonomy” is incorrect, then why don’t you address Tim M., who has been saying all thread that he WOULD follow those laws is he were living under the theonomy that you say is already there?

    Now, the question – should sodomy be illegal under the current system of government? And if so, why not other Biblical laws? Like I said, this question was spurred by Pastor Wilson’s apparent lamenting of the repeal of sodomy laws in recent decades.

  96. Elise, I counted 8 silly statements in your anti-homosexual rant. Rather than waste time replying to all of them, I could sum up most of the errors like this:

    Homosexual people aren’t some sort of hive mind with a single agenda who all think the same and want the same things. Some are Christians, some are not. Some want families, some do not. Some want marriage, some do not. Some are monogamous, some are not. Some are nice people who go to Christian campuses and want friends. In all those things, their range of desires is about as broad as the range of heterosexual desires.

    If you can’t think of them as individual neighbors to be loved, then you’re going to be missing something about how Christ sees them.

  97. Steve wells: “We all know that it will never actually be that way, and we are thankful for that.”
    excluding members of your ‘posse’ of course.

    “I’m hoping for a Matthew 5:37 type answer here.”
    As the philosopher Jagger once said ‘you can’t always get what you want’.

    “A believer’s gotta do what a believer’s gotta do.”
    How are you qualified to judge what a believer’s gotta do?

    And as I said i’m fully decided on my willingness to stone or burn ect. or not – it just isn’t relevant.

  98. To all “posse” members,

    I’m wondering what the 1 in 1600 who are true hermaphrodites are supposed to do with sexual drives they may have. Seems like a perfect “damned whatever you do” situation.

    I’d also like to know whether God should have been obeyed when he ordered the genocide of the Midianites, followed by the rape of the little girl virgins who were “spared.” What would YOU have done if ordered?

    Finally, do you think the presence of mandrakes would have any effect on the young of animals? If not, why not? How do you decide which parts of the Bible to rely on, and which you cannot rely on?

    Congratulations if you have the guts to answer all three. I’ll be a “prophet” in my own “religion and “prophesy” [Hi, katecho.] that you’ll all chicken out and there will be nothing but “crickets chirping.”

  99. Sorry, that should have been poplar, almond and plane branches, stripped to show white.

  100. I love how Steve Wells has ignored the fact that he is the cruelest contributor to this discussion…

  101. Bill F.,
    In terms of hermaphrodites:
    The wisest course would be to pick what appears to be the predominant gender.

    In terms of genocide and rape:
    Genocide involves wholesale slaughter based on race. Scripture teaches that the iniquity of the pagan nations needed to be complete. The Israelites were God’s instrument of judgement on these nations for.their sin, not race. In terms of rape, I think your interpretation of virgin spoils of war as free to rape says more about your imagination than it does Scripture.

    Can you point me to the passage you have in mind for the mandrakes?
    Tim

  102. [...] no longer speaks with a united voice on homosexuality, if it ever did.  Words of criticism and condemnation sit alongside positive responses from other evangelical leaders.  And, no, this is not the end of [...]

  103. “Well, the one thing we do know from reading the bible is that homosexuality is a sin.”

    As is eating at Red Lobster and wearing poly-blend T-shirts. Allowed and even encouraged by the bible is the stoning of brides who dare not bleed sufficiently their wedding night, stoning of adulterers, murdering children who sass their parents, etc, etc.

    Why do these self-annointed moral authorities obsess in such great detail about what they think they know about gay people, while completely ignoring the multitudinous sins they themselves are committing each and every day? It seems as though preachers really, REALLY enjoy talking about gay sex. In fact, Christians bloviate and expound about gay sex more than gays actually do it, and it’s destroying any credibility they assumed they had.

    Biologists have identified very unique fetal and mother hormone behavior during pregnancy that correlates with later puberty’s identifying as homosexual. It’s not a specific gay gene; it’s male and female hormones battling for supremacy in the womb.

    Most people know that gayness and straightness are NOT chosen, NOT recruited and NOT taught; that gay or straight simply IS. Religion has been on the wrong side of history…ALWAYS. And as always happens with religious superstition, science WILL one day identify what makes us gay or straight. My one and only wish would be to be alive when it’s announced so I can grab the popcorn and watch the imploding, yet again, of religious lies about moral superiority.

  104. Tim, here is the passage in Genesis about magical breeding strategies: 30:37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 30:38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. 30:39. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ring-strake, speckled, and spotted.

    > As I said in the post following my original post it was NOT mandrakes; that was a mistake on my part. Maybe because they are mentioned early in the same chapter.

    > What you said about hermaphrodites is the stock response. It assumes that vagueness in gender physiology is trivial and that one gender is clearly dominant.

    > You are quite wrong about genocide. It can be defined by any despised group, for any number of reasons, or excuses. And with the obvious intellectual dead-end of portraying the Bible as some kind of “Word of God” instead of the screed of early religious fanatics… (Nationalistic ones in question here.) We can clearly see an excuse for genocide, using “God” as justification.

    As for my “imagination” thanks for the compliment. My capacity for imagination is just fine, but none is needed here. Why don’t you look up the Midianites and tell me whether or not you see virgins being taken away against their will by the MURDERERS of their parents and brothers.

    (Just as a side note, Tim, some fundamentalist apologists have tried to claim that they were seized for their home-making skills. Uh huh. Sure!)

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